The Last Black Friday

SUBHEAD: Like the medieval days in Europe, commoners and peasants will live huddled in the shadows of their cathedrals and pray for charity... a break on pampers or spam.

By Juan Wilson on 24 November 2012 for Island Breath -

Image above: A vintage 1950's Fritz Wegner Christmas advent calender. From (

It's only getting worse. This year I noticed that here on Kauai the Christmas items were being set up in retail stores before Halloween. If your under fifty you might remember when the Christmas binge anticipation began just preceding Thanksgiving.

I'm old enough to remember when you couldn't find any commercial reference to Christmas until after Thanksgiving - with the exception of the Santa balloon in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

A few days after Thanksgiving my mother would have tossed the last of the turkey soup leftovers and she would hang up the special month of December advent calender that had the peek-a-boo doors with the count-down to Christmas day. That's when we officially began the Christmas season in our home. I usually did not begin shopping until the last few days before Christmas.

This year, however, with an earlier than usual Thanksgiving and the Big Box stores opening their doors with special sales before you have half digested even a morsel of turkey, the madness of Christmas shopping will extend over a month.

Some call it Camping

Now we have this phenomena of Black Friday. A shopping sale extravaganza that provides a few coveted items at ridiculously discounted prices to first comers. This pits shopper against shopper for 60" plasma TVs or pink Barbie Doll electrically driven "ridem" Hummers.

For a shopper to win his desired item requires camping out at the offering big box store in winter conditions to be first through the automatic doors at midnight. Experienced shoppers prepare for their ordeal bringing portable lamps, food, camping chairs and even tents.

Black Friday 2012 is not just a big day for sales and deals for some adventurous people who consider this a week-long event. The Fort Myers Best Buy has a tent city in front of the store with people literally living there on Monday, November 19, 2012 for a store opening on the Friday after Thanksgiving.

Image above: Campers outside the Best Buy in Fort Meyers, Florida, waiting four days for special sale items. From (

The Starting Gun

As you probably know, these promotions have resulted in many deaths due to pushing, pepper-spraying, trampling, beatings, stabbings, and shootings. Yes, people bring pepper spray, knives and guns to do their Christmas shopping in celebration of the birth of baby Jesus.
A sense of the ambiance of a Walmarts can be seen in the video below that has the following commentary.

Just to clarify, this happened at 10:00pm on Thanksgiving Day! Walmart started their "Black Friday" deals Thursday night to draw the crowds sooner.

These people really wanted their phones. There are several little fights, one guy busts out of the middle and starts flipping out on everyone in his path. There is a bald guy that even passes out from all the commotion at 1:05. The guy was ok in the end. I was asked to stop filming, so I did. Just think, This happened on Thanksgiving day!

Video above: Walmart Black Friday 2012. From (

Just another Hooverville

This may be the last Black Friday of its kind. If European sovereign debt continues to fester, or the American economy goes "over the cliff" with tax hikes and spending cutbacks, we will likely be in a deeper recession (let's just call it the Greatest Depression) this time next year. If so, the people camping out at the big box stores won't be doing it as a lark.

Another way to look at the Black Friday spectacle is to see it as a perpetual state of being. People who cannot afford homes and depend of discount sales on clothing and special junk food offerings to survive. Where possible they live at the big box store that will permit their residency.

Like the medieval days in Europe, commoners and peasants will live huddled in the shadows of their cathedrals and pray for charity... a break on pampers or spam.

Check out: for locations of Walmart's that allow RV camping in their parking lots.



Anonymous said...

Dear Juan,

Are you sure you weren't filming your video in the day room of a state mental hospital? Thanks for the update on consumer insanity.

János Keoni Samu said...

Congratulations, USA.

Without falling into the trap of generalization Americans became the perfect examples of Consumer Citizen deserving a place in the London Panoptikum. They have been indoctrinated and shaped to care about the thing that's for them the most important. Purchasing items for quick disposal.
I bet that it would take 10 times more effort to gather as many people for a protest against the current political regime than it takes to induce people to voluntarily gather for black Friday. Sad, but it is a sure sign of the collapse of the society.

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